Welcome to the Chair of Systems Design
At the Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, we perform interdisciplinary Complex Systems Research with a particular focus on the understanding and modeling of phenomena present in social, socio-technical and socio-economic systems. To do so we apply and develop quantitative methods from statistical physics, applied mathematics, computer science and beyond.
The recent crisis has brought to the fore a crucial question that remains still open: what would be the optimal architecture of financial systems? We investigate the stability of several benchmark topologies in a simple default cascading dynamics in bank networks. We analyze the interplay of several crucial drivers, i.e., network topology, banks' capital ratios, market illiquidity, and random vs targeted shocks. We find that, in general, topology matters only – but substantially – when the market is illiquid. No single topology is always superior to others. In particular, scale-free networks can be both more robust and more fragile than homogeneous architectures. This finding has important policy implications. We also apply our methodology to a comprehensive dataset of an interbank market from 1999 to 2011.
The latest results of a 5-year collaboration between our group and conservation biologists at the University of Greifswald have been published in Naturwissenschaften. In this new study, we show that a wild colony of bats can flexibly adapt its social structure in response to a dramatic population decline.
Our new paper is out now in PLOS ONE. In a collaboration with microbiologists from the University of Zurich, we have developed a graph layout method to ease the analysis of clustering patterns in the phenotypic profiles of bacteria, here applied to samples from the well-know Aletsch glacier in the Swiss Alps.
How do Research and Development networks evolve over time? Are there any universal patterns or their evolution is industry dependent? Is this evolution time dependent? Can we identify cyclic behavior or there is a monotonic trend? Find out more in our recent paper "The Rise and Fall of R&D Networks" which is now available on arXiv.
What are the reasons that drive users away from Online Social Networks? Our latest study of Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Livejournal and Friendster compares how the structure of their social network creates or diminishes their social resilience. Some media have reported on our analysis: Wired, and Technology Review.
Together with evolutionary biologists at the University of Zurich, we have published a new manuscript on an information-theoretic approach to coupling and leadership in animal groups. In this arXiv preprint, we illustrate the use of this technique on groups of wild meerkats carrying GPS collars.
Our paper analysing the role of emotions in open source contributors activity has been accepted for the IEEE International Conference on Social Computing and Its Applications. We focus on a case study based on the bug handling community of the Gentoo Linux project. We show that there are thresholds of emotional expression in textual messages, within the bug tracker and also within related messages in the developers mailing list, that correlate with the likelihood of a contributor to decrease his activity levels. Thus this result stands as step forward towards novel community management tools through quantitative methods.
We proudly announce that our recent work "Betweenness preference: Quantifying correlations in the topological dynamics of temporal networks" has been accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Going beyond the mere aggregate topology or activities of nodes in dynamic networks, in our paper we uncovered a so far unknown temporal-topological dimension of network dynamics. We further show that this new dimension crucially influences dynamical processes like for instance information diffusion or the spreading of diseases.
How do the collaboration structures of different Open Source Software communities differ and evolve over time? We quantitatively address this question in our recent article "A Quantitative Study of Social Organisation in Open Source Software Communities" which has been published in the Open Access Series in Informatics.
Interview for the TV program nano about our article on the autopsy of Friendster:
Postdoc position opened for Systemic Risk.
For more information: link
The deadline of the Second International Workshop on Socially Adaptive and Socio-Aware Information and Communication Systems which is co-organized by Ingo Scholtes and which will be held at the 7th IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems (SaSo) in Philadelphia, PA, USA is approaching.
You can find more information on this event at http://www.socioaware.net
On April 26 2013, the COST Action TD1210 "Analyzing the dynamics of information and knowledge landscapes - KNOWeSCAPE" has officially been launched. One of the main objectives of the COST TD1210 action is to apply methods and abstractions developed in statistical physics, mathematics, and computer science to improve our understanding of knowledge spaces and the knowledge ordering processes applied to them. To this end, the action creates an interdisciplinary forum involving experts from library and information science, mathematics, physics, social sciences, communication design, economics and computer science.
The Swiss chapter of COST TD1210 will be coordinated by Prof. Dr. Dr. Frank Schweitzer (ETH Zürich, national coordinator) and Prof. Dr. Karl Aberer (EPFL Lausanne, national vice-coordinator). More information about the COST action as well as the Swiss chapter can be found on our dedicated project page.